High School Sports

When it came time to choose, this Mascoutah senior stuck with golf

Mascoutah senior Alex Gorman shares BND Golfer of the Year honors with Althoff’s Dylan Davidson and Edwardsville’s Ben Tyrrell.
Mascoutah senior Alex Gorman shares BND Golfer of the Year honors with Althoff’s Dylan Davidson and Edwardsville’s Ben Tyrrell.

Alex Gorman is an excellent all-around athlete who competed in several sports while growing up.

But when the time came to choose one, the Mascoutah High School senior decided to focus on golf.

“My dad is a very strong player, and he’s the one who basically got me started when I was younger,” Gorman said. “I played freshman baseball my first year, and then I just decided to play the one. I was hoping that if I worked hard and spent a lot of time at it, that maybe I could become good enough to maybe get a college scholarship.”

Gorman did play well enough and will be attending McKendree University next year. He will be reunited with former Indians teammate Matt Hatley, currently a freshman on the McKendree team. Several other players from the metro-east area are also in the Bearcats’ program.

“Drew (Sobol) from Wood River is a friend, and he will also be playing golf at McKendree next year, and there are also several other players I’ve competed against who are on the team. They’ve got a good program, and plus it’s close to home,” Gorman said. “Right now, I’m working on getting stronger.”

A four-year letterman for coach John Hinkle’s Mississippi Valley Conference champion team, Gorman was at his very best during the 2016 season. The Indians’ No. 1 player was medalist six times in dual matches, where he averaged 38.4 per nine holes.

It was on an October weekend at Weibring Golf Course in Normal when Gorman and Althoff’s Dylan Davidson put themselves among the elite players in the state. Competing in the Illinois High School Association Class 2A State Tournament, both players finished with 36-hole totals of 154 and in a tie for 14th place.

That finish earned Gorman and Davidson a share of the Belleville News-Democrat Player of the Year honor. They share the accolades with Edwardsville High School Ben Tyrrell, who tied for seventh place in the Class 3A State Tournament, which was held at the Den at Fox Creek Golf Course in Bloomington.

Known for his strong work ethic and length off the tee, Gorman was at his best in the closing weeks of the regular season.

After winning the MVC individual championship when he shot 75 at Belk Park Golf Course in Wood River, Gorman won the final regular season event, capturing the Cardinal Creek Classic at Scott Air Force Base with another 75. That success spilled over to the regional, where he shot a 73 to finish second, then played well enough to advance from the Mattoon Sectional with an 82.

“The goals were of course to play well and have fun my senior year. But I really wanted to make it to the state tournament,” Gorman said. “I just wanted to keep getting better each day.”

Competing at the Class 2A state finals, Gorman shot rounds of 77 both days to finish at 154 for the tournament.

“The first time I had ever seen (Weibring) Golf Course in Normal was the first practice day. I like the course. It was set up well for my game,” Gorman said. “It’s pretty wide open, so I could take out my driver and let it go. A couple of times I was within 50 to 60 yards of the green. That’s a wedge.

“The first day I played, I shot 77. I was pleased, but I felt like it could have been better. I had a couple of three-putt greens, and so I felt like I left a couple of strokes out there. The leader shot 72, and I felt like I could have been right there too. I just left a couple shots out there.”

The success enjoyed by Gorman comes as no surprise to Hinkle, who has saw his top player develop into one of the state’s best during the past two years.

“Alex has worked as hard as any golfer that I have had in our program over the last 17 years,” Hinkle said. “His mental skills and confidence are exceeded only by his ability to hit any shot that is called for. His practice effort has allowed him to know his swing so well that he rarely makes the same mistake twice.”

Dean Criddle: 618-239-2661, @CriddleDean